Submitted by Doug Cohen, Corrales resident

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This story also appeared in Commentary

Our household’s recent experience both verifies and thoroughly underscores the modern sentiment regarding how dependent and attached we are to our current N. American society on our power sources, electronic devices and nearly universal connectivity.

Yes – have we become spoiled and decidedly entitled. 

During our current Power Outage, which commenced last evening in our home in Corrales, New Mexico (a suburb of Albuquerque), we have been both enduring the inconveniences and seeking information from our neighbors and power company officials about the status of our electric grid system, its in-process repair and timing estimates of the return of power to our home.

This morning, for nearly two hours, due to my quite personal dependency on connectivity, I have been trying to charge my Samsung mobile phone on my idling car charger system and it’s USB port has not generated enough power to successfully boot up the cell phone enough for it to stay on.

Now – as a last resort, while the house is still without power, I am charging the mobile unit on my laptop which thankfully has a good deal of power left at this time. This has been successful enough to allow a call to my across town son who was trying to reach me this morning to confirm plans for tonight’s concert and a Goat Smoking party later this summer.

The suitably charged computer also allows me to write a reflection essay on the state of my and our collective attitudes and dispositions towards being without electricity. Put simply, we are bad at adapting to this state of affairs.

It’s not that we can’t handle some amount of hours without our devices and home appliances. It’s simply that we don’t want to have to endure another moment of it.

Yes – Some can comfortably resort to reading a book or magazine for a while. And some can turn to a house project long neglected which could satisfy an itch for an unfinished “To-Do” to be completed. But as a writer I naturally gravitate to putting my thoughts together to reflect on both our personal and collective states of mind.

If impatience with the outage were the only concern, that would be one thing. But there are a host of practical concerns:  a large amount of food in both of our two refrigerator-freezer units, one in the kitchen and one in the garage, the contents of which will likely be thrown out and have to be replaced. Then there’s the clock resettings on the stove and radios, etc. These are clearly minor enough recovery moves, but still it is the discomfort with the fact of the outage itself that most stings the sensibility of the modern human.

For a moment just now we had a false restart of power. The light in the room I’m in went on for a couple seconds, and the fridge started up again and then, just as abruptly, the power went back off again. A few minutes later the power surged on again for good.

Inconvenience over, but that does not mean forgotten.

Now – an hour and a half later, I’ve just completed watching a spectacular tennis match with the young, and up and coming phenom, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz.

He’s hands down the greatest thing that’s happened to men’s tennis in several years. He has already won numerous tournaments on different surfaces so far this year. And he only appeared on the world scene a year ago in the South American circuit, before becoming a threat on the world’s biggest tennis stages.

So – as our Power Outage now begins to recede into the past, I turn my attention to the remaining weekend horizon.

I’m nearly out of the territory of adjusting to the prior hour’s inconveniences and absences of modern habituated activities.

I have begun to move past the sense of dislocation and inconvenience. I am back in the swing of power mode “on.”

Until the next time.

Who knows how and when we will adjust more gracefully to these experiences? At this stage, I am back to being grateful for modern life and its pleasures and electronic wonders. However long this state of appreciation lasts, I’ll be pleased for it. And maybe, just maybe, I won’t keep just taking it all for granted. 

What about you?